Activation Mt Helix 6-23-2016

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This is an easy drive up with about a 250 foot walk to the top of the Mount Helix summit W6/SC-352. We parked in the 30 minute zone for a bit longer than that. There was excellent T-Mobile cell service for SPOT’s. Even with the early morning overcast there was a great view. Propagation was poor as we expected so when it started to get warm we went QRT. Contacts on 2m: K7WYV, NA6MG, AE6AV, NG6R; 20m: N7ESI who let me talk with Austin who will be in the 3rd grade, NS7P, WW7D, WB5USB, W7CNL; 40m: NJ7V, W7RV. This was a joint activation with Martin so please see his blog at: Link to WN6E

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My station

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Bob KB6CIO & Martin WN6E

 

 

Activation Report Circle Mountain W6/CT-071 June 14, 2016

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I was looking at my SOTA To Do list for one with a steep climb. This one met the object both going up to the summit and on the return trip coming carefully back down. I was testing a new backpack which also allowed me to find and leave behind many accessories that had collected in my old backpack.

Radio: Elecraft KX3 operating at 10 watts

Antenna: End Fed 40-6m non-resonant with 9:1 Unun and 35ft coax

Bands used: 40m, 20m. 10m, 2m

Hike in: Yes with steep slope

Solo operation: Yes

Cell Coverage: Unknown

APRS Coverage: Excellent

SPOT’s done with DeLorme InReach via Iridium Satellites

Lone Pine Canyon Road parking is at the reference point N 34° 20.536 W 117° 36.178. Be sure to display your Forest Adventure Pass in your car. From here, walk the to the trail head waypoint N 34° 20.499 W 117° 35.985. I took the trail to the right instead of the left one up the gulch. Although it was a bit steep going up it was certainly the preferred return trail. Just at the top of this was the waypoint and geocache KZ-Black Oak (Circle Mountain)  GC3Y62A. There is a second significant cardiac workout with a steep uphill beyond this. I also found  KZ-Between a Rock and (Circle Mountain) GC3Y62W. Even if you are not a geocacher these are excellent waypoints. The hike was 1.3 miles each way with an elevation gain of 800 feet. The final elevation was 2103m / 6900ft.

Log: 2m KA6P Wrightwood, KA6OLD Hisperia, KK6D Near March AFB, K8TEE obviously name of Katie near March AFB, KM6CEM heard 22 several times – he never heard my tiny signal. 40m KA6P, W6JMP Sacramento; W7RV Arizona; NG6R Palos Verdes. 20m W0MNA and W0ERI Kansas. Tried 10m – sorry, no contacts.

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Parking with Circle summit at the left side (not my car).

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Ground Plot (predicted)

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Summit Log (Not a geocache)

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Summit Marker (Not a geocache)

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My new back pack. Empty is only 2 lbs.

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A geocache KZ-Between a Rock and (Circle Mountain) GC3Y62W

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A geocache KZ-Black Oak (Circle Mountain) GC3Y62A

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Official SOTA flag on Summit Marker

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A great view at 50% point looking back down on Lone Pine Canyon Road

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Operating position in partial shade

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The summit guard

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HF Antenna and mast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activation of PT 906 W6/SC-460 5/4/2016

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Yeah! This was a new summit and had not been be activated until today. ATNO (All Time New One) is a a new acronym I recently learned in the world of DX. Although this does not apply to SOTA, I think we should consider our own abbreviation for an activation of a summit for the first time.

A rare cool day in Southern California that stayed cloudy and comfortable while I walked about 0.6 miles up 200 feet to the barren summit. I parked at the end of Del Dois (33.442749, -117.588647) where there is a trail head for the Rancho San Clemente Trail. The summit (33.4376, -117.5895) was ideal with APRS and T-Mobile Cell service with SMS and Data. Most of my SPOT’s were posted via my DeLorme Inreach using the Iridium satellites due to a temporary problem with the SPOT website not recognizing the new summit. SMS also worked fine.

After the activation I took time to grab the Geocache GC1P5DB Just a poster in SC (https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1P5DB_just-a-poster-in-sc).

Contacts were readily made on 40 meters even with the local band noise. 20 meters was the winning band for me. I tried several of the higher bands for at least 20 minutes each with no contacts at all so I had to agree with the poor propagation that was predicted.

LOGS:

Date: 04/May/2016 Summit: W6/SC-460 (906) Call Used: KB6CIO

Time Call Band Mode Notes
15:14z NA6MG 144MHz FM S55 R59 QRG:146.58 NAME:Dan He had fun on Mt Williams and Mt Lewis yesterday
15:17z NG6R 7MHz SSB S59 R53 QRG:7.195 From Palos Verdes QTH
15:20z KX6A 7MHz SSB S44 R44 QRG:7.195 We will do coffee soon
15:21z W6WTI 7MHz SSB S59 R59 QRG:7.195 NAME:Fred QTH N Calif coast near Timber 60m N SF. He will activate Lighthouse at Pt Arena in summer.
15:23z W7RV 7MHz SSB S59 R56 QRG:7.195 QTH:AZ Band noise
15:27z K6EL 7MHz SSB S44 R44 QRG:7.199 SF local QRM
15:40z KM6CEM 144MHz SSB S44 R44 QRG:146.58 NAME:Charles QTH:CA
15:45z W0ERI 14MHz SSB S55 R55 QRG:14.285 NAME:Martha QTH:KS
15:46z W0MNA 14MHz SSB S55 R57 QRG:14.285 NAME:Gary QTH:KS
15:47z WW7D 14MHz SSB S59 R59 QRG:14.285 QTH:Seattle
15:49z N1GB 14MHz SSB S33 R33 QRG:14.285 Great op with weak signal both ways who worked hard to complete QSO
15:53z NS7P 14MHz SSB S59 R59 QRG:14.285 NAME:Phil Oregon
15:57z K8LJG 14MHz SSB S55 R55 QRG:14.285
16:00z KG5HGI 14MHz SSB S55 QRG:14.285
16:05z W7CNL 14MHz SSB S59 R57 QRG:14.285 QTH:Boise
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Ground Track

aDistance Elevation W6 SC460

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My view of the ocean

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KB6CIO Operating

 

 

Activation of Blue Ridge W6/SS-429 10-21-2015

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This activation would never have happened if it were not for an awesome ham, Mark, N6IB. As I was hunting for a summit in the central California area I chatted with him on DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) several times. He was, at that time, a radio technician for the county supporting their many mountain top sites. Each site I ask about seemed to need an extreme 4×4 vehicle, helicopter, or keys a locked gate. He suggested Blue Ridge as there is a paved road all the way there and no gates at all. I looked at the SOTA page and saw the “Not Yet Activated” which concerned me. There must have been a reason no one from SOTA had not done this one yet. I never found that reason. I had a scenic trip with a wonderful activation.

From highway 190 turn on Balch Rd (36.138990, -118.807677) in Springville. You will periodically see signs for “276” during the drive. The drive took me about an hour for the 19 miles. I go slower on the single lane and rougher parts of the road. You make a left turn on Mountain Road 276 at (36.288634, -118.815725). When you enter Sequoia National Forest (there is a large sign) the road changes to a single track with blind turns so watch for other traffic. Continue up that to Blue Ridge summit 36.28689956665, -118.83959960938 (N 36° 17′ 12.840? W 118° 50′ 22.524).

I found a Benchmark PID GT1847 Altitude: 5807 N 36° 17.212 W 118° 50.383 (NAD 83) on the rock in front of the propane tank which validated that I was in the right place. This also matched my GPS and imagery information.

The mountain is a bit noisy in the RF world for 146.52 FM so I never made any contacts there. I simply could not hear anyone. You may be able to find a spot that is quieter that is still in the activation zone. There were no noise problems on the other bands. If I did not have to drive home that night I could have worked more stations. The chasers were awesome with the propagation being a bit better than usual.

There was no cell service for T-Mobile. I could not do voice, text, or data.

APRS on 144.39 had intermittent service. My theory is that the RF noise from public service radios and paging systems was overloading my Kenwood TH-D72 front end.

Because there was no cell service and no APRS all SPOT’s were done via my DeLorme Inreach SE from the Iridium satellite system.

I had a very special contact with N6IB while he was showing the new radio tech around other sites. He meet me on 446.000 FM and made a contact from the lookout on Jordan Mountain (36.18700, -118.57920). He was 120 degrees and 16 miles away from me.

Date: 21/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/SS-429 Blue Ridge Call: KB6CIO Points: 6

Time Call Band Mode Notes
15:39z NG6R 7MHz SSB 7.185 59/55 Palos Verdes CA
15:48z K6HPX 7MHz SSB 57/53
15:49z W7CNL 7MHz SSB 33/44
15:51z W7USA 7MHz SSB 44/44 AZ
15:54z KD7ZLF 7MHz SSB 22/22
15:55z W7RV 7MHz SSB 57/55 SCOTTSDALE AZ
15:59z NA6MG 7MHz SSB DAN 33/45
16:03z K6WPV 7MHz SSB 55/41 Bob Santa Maria
16:08z AA7DK 7MHz SSB 44/44 Flagstaff AZ
16:15z N6IB 433MHz FM 446.000 59/59 Mark; Jordan Mnt Look Out; 120 degrees; 9114 ft; 16 miles
16:24z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 14.285 44/55 KS Gary
16:27z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 44/55 KS Martha
16:28z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB 55/44 TX
16:33z KX0R 14MHz SSB 55/57 CO Teri SOTA
16:35z AE5B 14MHz SSB 22/22 Good Operator
16:36z K7HLN 14MHz SSB 33/44 MT Bob
16:37z N1GB 14MHz SSB 44/33
16:41z W4DOW 14MHz SSB 22/33 Virginia
16:42z N8BB 14MHz SSB 22/33
16:43z N4EX 14MHz SSB 22/
16:56z N4EX 21MHz SSB 21.385 22/45 Great Operator
17:03z KD0MQQ 21MHz SSB 22/55
17:04z KC5CW 21MHz SSB 22/55
17:05z K4MF 21MHz SSB 22/44
17:06z K5KJ 21MHz SSB 33/33 TX
17:25z KA9EOK 24MHz SSB 24.950 55/59 Bob Wisconson FT450 40M Dipole with Antenna Tuner
17:39z NE4TN 28MHz SSB 28.385 55/55 TN
17:40z W4MPS 28MHz SSB 22/42 QSB NC
17:41z KM4HOH 28MHz SSB 22/56
17:44z KD9ANY 28MHz SSB 44/59 Indiana Danny FT857 CB Ground plane w radials
17:47z ND6M 28MHz SSB 55/57 W TN Jim Near Battle Fields Shilow
17:50z WA8PGR 28MHz SSB 57/57 Andy 756Pro SW Michigan
17:55z W8NRH 28MHz SSB 33/58 Columbus OH 100w FT1200 Windom Doc
17:58z KK4SSV 28MHz SSB 22/57
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Road narrows to single lane when you pass this sign

Really?

Really?

Route

Route

Benchmark

Benchmark

Benchmark here

Benchmark here

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A view from the summit

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The county site

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At the summit. Can you tell me what this is?

Blue Ridge - Jordan Peak

A very special contact for me with N6IB

Activation Report for Mt Diablo W6/CC-045 10-19-2015 KB6CIO and KF7URE

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Getting up to Mount Diablo is a wonderful drive that takes about 1 hour. From exit 39 Diablo Road, exit off the I-680. There are other approaches that will get you there too. On the drive up stop at the entrance gate to pay $10 for a day pass for this state park. There are large parking areas at the top with restrooms. We went up to the observation deck to scout for a path to the actual designated summit that is just below. Back to the parking area we discretely ducked under the railing and took one of the well worn foot paths to the clearing. Periodically during the activation, other people came past us on these paths.  The summit is at 37.88159942627, -121.91380310059 with an elevation of 1173 meters (3848 feet).

When we were done with the activation, we spent some time in the visitor center exploring. There is a historic benchmark inside the center on the exposed bedrock. This is PID HS5120 at N 37° 52.902 W 121° 54.849 (NAD 83) Altitude 3864 feet.

T-Mobile phone service was marginal with just a few SMS intermittent text messages. There was no voice or data service. APRS was working great. I used my DeLorme Inreach for SPOTs via Iridium satellites for myself, KB6CIO, and my brother Lee, KF7URE. This was my brother’s first SOTA activation. Propagation was very good so he had many contacts. From time to time we had to take breaks to recover from the mini pile ups. We really enjoyed the view on this sunny day. The diligent chasers worked patiently giving Lee 26 contacts as I logged and “elmered” him. Three of these were S2S (Summit To Summit) thanks to the incredible coordination done by our chasers.

Some equipment notes: We used Lee’s (KF7URE) equipment for the entire activation and brought mine as a backup. His LifePO4 Battery Pack only had a 44% charge as his charger had failed. I was impressed as we ran 10 watts for the entire activation and never had to change to my battery. The antenna was a 35.5 foot insulated stranded 18 AWG wire on a 9:1 UNUN made by EARCHI. The Elecraft KX3 does an instant and excellent job with it’s antenna tuner unit to achieve satisfactory SWR. We used 25 feet of coax as a counterpoise and an additional 25 ft wire attached to the ground lug. The mast was a 10 meter / 32+ foot pole by PackTenna held to a dead tree with bungie cords.

Using the clearing along the ridge of summit below the visitor center, one drops slightly east, thereby causing poor line of sight transmission and reception on 2 meter VHF into some sections of the Bay Area.  To get better transmissions and reception, we recommend making your 2 meter VHF contacts from upper parking lot that has a clear view of the Bay Area, then drop down to clearing to set up HF contacts.

There is a short video at: Summit Video ( https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/p6gl8ZmlTqTltydZUB4-TCzkN2fbZqw8ymGnlOjHSRM?feat=directlink )

There are also many pictures at the end of this blog.

LOGS:

Date: 19/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/CC-045 Mt. Diablo Call: KF7URE

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:50z KK6BNJ 144MHz FM 146.52 59/59 Steve Valley Springs
18:54z WB6DTB 144MHz FM 59/59 Dave Oakley
19:09z K6EL 7MHz SSB 7.185 55/55 Elliot
19:11z K6WFV 7MHz SSB 55/53 Bob Santa Maria
19:16z NG6R 7MHz SSB 59/53 Palos Verdes
19:17z K6CMG 7MHz SSB 33/22 Chris Long Beach Airport
19:18z W6JMP 7MHz SSB 59/54 El Dorado Hills, CA
19:19z NS7P 7MHz SSB 44/44 Phil ELMIRA, OR
19:26z KH2TJ 7MHz SSB 59/52 PORTOLA, CA
19:29z KH7SS 7MHz SSB 59/43 WHITEFISH, MT
19:35z WB0USI 7MHz SSB 59/52 ROSEVILLE, CA
19:50z K6WFV 7MHz SSB 59/59 Bob again in Santa Maria
20:11z N7KRN 14MHz SSB 14.280 59/59 Washington State
20:13z K6EL 14MHz SSB 59/59 Elliot
20:16z KF7JQV 14MHz SSB 59/59 Bob Olympic Penn
20:17z KJ6NHF 14MHz SSB 55/58 Ground Wave
20:18z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 33/33 Gary Kansas
20:20z VE7KBN 14MHz SSB 55/55 British Columbia
20:21z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 33/33 Martha Kansas
20:26z NK6A 14MHz SSB 55/55 Mt Tamalpias W6/CC-063 S2S TNX! K6EL coordinated this!
20:28z KD0YOB 14MHz SSB 14.346 44/44 CO S2S TNX! W0C/PR-137 Delaney Butte
20:41z AC1Z 21MHz SSB 21.385 59/57 New Hamshire
20:42z N1GB 21MHz SSB 57/57 VT
20:44z K4MF 21MHz SSB 55/44 Florida
20:46z KB1HXO 21MHz SSB 22/22 Ken Massachusetts
20:51z K6EL 21MHz SSB 59/59 Elliot Mt Davidson W6/NC-423 S2S TNX! He went up after working us from home.

 

Date: 19/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/CC-045 Mt. Diablo Call Used: KB6CIO Points: 2

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:49z KK6BNJ 144MHz FM 146.52 55/59 Steve Valley Springs
18:56z WB6DTB 144MHz FM 59/59
19:09z K6EL 7MHz SSB 7.185 Elliott 33/55 QSB
19:10z K6WFV 7MHz SSB Bob Santa Maria 55/53
19:24z K6CMG 7MHz SSB Chris Long Beach Airport 33/33
21:58z KA6GND 144MHz FM 146.52 57/51 Larry
22:04z W6PZA 144MHz FM 59/59 Ron
Parking Lot 2

Parking Lot 2 Summit Museum

Parking Lot 2

Parking Lot 2

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Mount Diablo Summit Museum

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Benchmark inside

Benchmark inside

Plaque on observation deck

Plaque on observation deck

View from observation deck of summit

View from observation deck of summit

KF7URE Lee with KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE Lee with KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE Lee

KF7URE Lee

KB6CIO Bob

KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE (Lee) Backpack

KF7URE (Lee’s) Backpack

Elecraft KX3, Microphone, Power Cable.

Elecraft KX3, Microphone, Power Cable.

Mast bungie corded to dead tree

Mast bungie corded to dead tree

30 foot mast with 30 foot antenna

10 meter / 32+ foot mast with 35.5 foot antenna wire

9:1 UNUN with 25 feet of coax and 25 ft counterpoise wire.

9:1 UNUN with 25 feet of coax and 25 ft counterpoise wire.

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25 ft coax which is the counter poise running to KX3

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LifePO4 Battery Pack

LifePO4 Battery Pack

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit of the museum

North Mountain (another summit)

North Mountain (another summit)

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

8 young adults climbing a rock below us.

8 young adults climbing a rock below us.

A visitor

A visitor

KF7URE Lee and KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE Lee and KB6CIO Bob

 

Activation Report Santa Ynez W6/CC-036 October 15, 2015

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On Thursday, 10-15-2015, I activated Santa Ynez W6/CC-036. I must say that this one happened due to the excellent information provided by the PAPA System Club hams WD6FZA, Cecil, and WD8CIK, Steve. They provided me the tactical information needed to make this an absolute success. This is a drive up that could be made in most cars. I had the advantage of having a High Clearance 2WD SUV.  It is about a 1 hour drive up from the 101 freeway. Start from the off ramp of Refugio Road at the 101 Freeway (34.466194, -120.069037). There is a paved road with ‘surprise’ pot holes for the first 12.6 miles. The remaining 0.8 miles is a rough dirt road. Going up you turn right at 7.1 miles (do not go straight). The dirt road starts (pavement ends) at 12.6 miles where you bear right at the fork. Total mileage to summit is approximately 13.4.  Elevation 4298ft / 1310 meters. The summit is at 34.526901245117, -119.9785003.

I recommend against taking Stagecoach Road from the 154 as there are reportedly several locked gates. The other entrance via North Refugio Road at the 246 is currently NOT Accessible due to a washed out bridge and it may have locked gates.

On the summit I had excellent T-Mobile cell service so my SPOT’s were done via the website. APRS had good coverage on the summit. RF wise propagation was only lacking on 15 meters.  Weather was marginal as there was a major storm approaching. I had a great view of clouds and nothing else. I got off the mountain just before rain and flooding started.

On the way up I did stop for one Geocache to drop a trackable. El Presidente GC18VPD. The cache is near the entrance to the “Western WhiteHouse” where back in the 80’s President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy would stay here for rest and relaxation. Also called Rancho Del Cielo the ranch is now a preserve owned by Young America’s Foundation. There are Many more Geocaches up there. If you continue past the summit 1.8 miles you will find the famous ‘oldest’ cache in Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara One GC106 Hidden 12/28/2000). Sadly I did not have time for this old one.

Date: 15/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/CC-036 Santa Ynez Peak Call: KB6CIO Points: 4

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:16z KC6DSH 144MHz FM 146.52 59/59 Mike
16:27z KM6CEM 144MHz FM 55/52 Charles San Dimas – wow!
16:35z K6CLS 144MHz FM 59/59 mobile Cliff
17:05z NA6MG 7MHz SSB 7.185 33/44 Dan
17:08z NG6R 7MHz SSB Palos Verdes 59/54
17:32z W6ONT 7MHz SSB Mobile 5 freeway Valencia Ed 44/33 on his way to Pacificon
17:46z N7BHP 14MHz SSB 14.285 Texas 44/55
17:52z KD7ZLF 14MHz SSB 43/55 Howard West Oregon
17:54z KE5BGC 14MHz SSB 33/53 S Near Albuquerque, NM Billy
17:58z K7HLN 14MHz SSB 33/33 Bob MT
18:01z KH7SS 14MHz SSB 22 QSB GREAT OPERATOR worked patiently with me
18:04z KY7S 14MHz SSB 55/33 Seattle WA
18:12z KH6VM 14MHz SSB 57/56 Henry OCF 100W Frederick
18:43z VE6AO 14MHz SSB Club Station OP VE6CCM Jack 3 Ele 50ft 59/57
19:16z K6WFV 14MHz SSB Bob did first activation of this summit 59/53 Santa Maria, CA
19:20z AE7AP 14MHz SSB 59/29 MT high local noise for him
The Route

The route

Initial road is two lanes.

Initial road is two lanes.

Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive

The Geocache

The Geocache

Turn right here

Turn right here at about 7.1 miles.

My first view of the summit.

My first view of the summit.

Dirt road for last 0.8 miles

Dirt road for last 0.8 miles

The Summit.

The Summit.

Summit Benchmark

Summit Benchmark PID: EW8164 Marked: Santa Ynez 1941 N01 Location: N 34° 31.621 W 119° 58.709 (NAD 83)

Contractors from Arizona to survey a tower.

Contractors from Arizona surveying a tower.

73, and THANK YOU to all the Chasers.

Activation Report Pt 2000 Temecula W6/CT-221

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Martin, WN6E, and I needed a quick activation. We selected this easy drive up. The actual site is on the roof of a very expensive home. Fortunately we had information from prior activators of some alternatives. We went to the hill that is just past the site on the same side of the road. This is 33.480022, -117.185408 which is 39 feet below the actual 2,000 ft (610m) elevation and well within the activation zone.

Propagation was hostile to say the least. I spotted on several bands working there for 20 minutes on each in the hope I could just reach one more Chaser. The Chasers saved us as there were several with big stations who could hear our tiny signal.

We had cell service on both AT&T and T-Mobile which made spotting easy via both SMS and the website.

Date: 16/Jul/2015 Summit: W6/CT-221 Pt. 2000 Call Used: KB6CIO Points: 1

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:03z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 14.285 57/56
16:04z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 14.285 57/56
16:16z N7NGO 14MHz SSB S2S W7I SI-153
16:24z K8TE 14MHz SSB 33/22
16:50z K6QCB 144MHz FM 146.52 59/57
16:51z KN6CCW 144MHz FM 59/44
17:07z AA7DK 7MHz SSB 7.185 59/22
17:09z N7AMA 7MHz SSB 59/59
17:10z K8TE 7MHz SSB 59/22
Our site is on the left 39 ft below Point 2000 on the roof of the house.

Our site is on the left 39 ft below Point 2000 on the roof of the house.

My Station Today

My Station Today

My Station close up

My Station close up

Activation Report North Mountain Arizona 5/15/2015

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My Arizona SOTA adventure was made possible by the VERY gracious help from the locals and others who have activated before me. They sent more summits than I could possibly do in the short time I would be there. My route was the 10 Freeway from California to Tucson. I picked North Mountain W7A/AW-060 as a nice hike up for my brief stay in Phoenix. I was lucky to get parking at the trail head at 6am as there were many work out people and dog walkers there already. One common thread from all the advice was that I should activate very early or very late due to the intense heat at this time of the year. If I could have waited until June I could have gotten bonus points for these 😦

From my hotel in Phoenix I merely dropped the parking coordinates 33.589067, -112.065142  into my smart phone which guided me to the parking lot. The summit (33.58560180, -112.0723037) is at 641 m/2103 feet. It is a steady uphill walk of 0.8 miles and a 362 feet of elevation gain.

Cell service on my T-Mobile was excellent for SMS texting, data service, and voice service. SPOT’s could readily have been posted this way.

APRS2SOTA was probably very good at this site, however, I had an intermittent antenna connector problem that will have to be fixed back home. This radio has seen several years of tough service so this was very acceptable.

My DeLorme InReach Explorer on the Iridium satellite system provided most SPOT’s for this activation. Additionally, there were several helpful Chasers who kept me on clearer frequencies and helped SPOT me.

There is a really nice use 144.410 FM in Phoenix. Reportedly it has been used for years by the Six Meter weak signal ops to coordinate DX in the area. With the lack of a sunspot cycle it is used mostly now for SOTA and HF DX spots. Since many of the old time 6M guys are also into SOTA it was a delight to operate there. I did try 146.52 just to make sure I did not leave out anyone. For third day in a row propagation was hostile. Due to my limited schedule I only worked 40, 20, and 15 meters SSB. You can see from my log that some of these bands were just dead.

Geocaches:  There are a few in the area that I used as way points. I really did not have the time to spend searching for them on this activation.

Some side notes that I rarely mention. I carry the “10 Essentials” with lots of water (you Really need it for this one). In the event of a significant emergency I will use the “Ham Radio Wilderness Protocol on 146.52 FM”. I monitor that frequency when I have full batteries. On low battery I would follow the protocol. You can Google these things. I hope more Ham’s pass this information along.

Date: 14/May/2015 Summit: W7A/AW-060 North Mountain Call Used: KB6CIO

Time Call Band Mode Notes
13:43z N7AMA 144MHz FM 144.410 59/59
13:44z WA7JTM 144MHz FM 59/59
14:21z W7RV 7MHz SSB 7.185 59/57
14:22z W7RV 144MHz FM 144.41 55/55 110 miles in Flagstaff
14:42z AA7DK 14MHz SSB 7.184 55/55
14:43z N7AMA 14MHz SSB 59/55
14:46z NA6MG 14MHz SSB 22/33
14:47z WB5USB 14MHz SSB 44/22 NM
14:52z K4MF 14MHz SSB 14.285 57/55
14:56z W4DOW 14MHz SSB 22/33 VI
14:57z K7EJM 14MHz SSB 22/33
14:59z NS7P 14MHz SSB 59/33 Phil OR
15:02z KA5QQA 14MHz SSB 22/44
15:07z N7ESI 14MHz SSB 33/– Dave WA
15:09z N4EX 14MHz SSB 33/44
15:12z W6LDX 21MHz SSB 21.385 33/43 Tom in a park Mesa AZ battery powered
n mt rOUTE

Hiking Route 0.8 mi +365 ft

Parking Area at Trail Head

Parking Area at Trail Head

Final Approach on the paved road to the summit.

Paved road to the summit base. Dirt trail the last 0.1 miles.

My Antenna is a 9:1 UNUN with 36 feet of wire.

My Antenna is a 9:1 UNUN with 36 feet of wire.

1 pound 16 feet extending fishing pole for my mast.

1 pound 16 feet extending fishing pole for my mast.

Base mast mount for this activation.

Base mast mount for this activation.

Elecraft KX3 with Log Clipboard.

Elecraft KX3 with Log Clipboard.

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Wildlife !WILDLIFE !

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DSCN0980Thanks to the Chasers and 73!

Activation Report Arizona Lemmon and Bigelow 5/13/2015

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My Arizona SOTA adventure would not be if it were not for the VERY gracious help from the locals and others who have activated before me. They sent more summits than I could possibly do in the short time I would be here. My route was the 10 Freeway from California to Tucson. I picked Lemmon W7A/AW-001 and Bigelow W7A/AW-003 as activation’s. These were drive up’s with a short walk and are frequently done together. Another delight about these was even though it is warm down in town Lemmon was about 42 degrees and Bigelow was 68 degrees.

From my hotel in Tucson I merely dropped in the summit coordinates 32.443000793457, -110.78829956055 into my smart phone which guided me to the closed gate at the parking lot for Lemmon. The final site is just a short walk. My faithful spelling checker here kept complaining about Lemmon. This spelling is correct for this site as it was named for botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon who trekked to the top of the mountain.

Bigelow was rather nice from here as the locals told me about the road to the top. You can hike up the trail from the parking area across from the ranger station. I suspected my smart phone would be a paper weight with no service so I came prepared to navigate to the entrance road for Bigelow (32.412957, -110.731276) with a traditional GPS. This road is about 6 miles from the Lemmon parking area. At the turn (32.416078, -110.731788) there is unique friendly sign saying if the road is closed for the winter you are welcome to walk up! The road was open and easy to travel in my SUV to the summit at 32.415500640, -110.71440124. My old 2005 Toyota 4Runner SUV has a high clearance. I would not recommend a traditional vehicle on this upper part of the road.

In my windshield I displayed my National Forrest Adventure Pass as they were checking them at Lemmon. No Forrest service was seen on Bigelow. There were just a few walkers.

Cell service on my T-Mobile was intermittent SMS texting, no data service, and no voice service.

APRS2SOTA was probably very good at these sites, however, I had an intermittent antenna connector problem that will have to be fixed back home. This radio has seen several years of tough service so this was very acceptable.

My DeLorme InReach Explorer on Iridium Satellites provided most SPOT’s for these activation’s. Additionally, there were several helpful Chasers who kept me on clearer frequencies and helped SPOT me.

Here was a bit of a surprise to me. Lemmon is at 2792m/9160ft. Bigelow Mount 2604m/8543ft. I really thought with these tall 10 pointers I would have more contacts. Propagation was hostile to the point that after each of these activation’s I was so concerned that I mounted my mobile HF antenna on my car and did some testing with the Yeasu FT857. I was worried that there was something wrong with the Elecraft KX3 I had carried up to the summit. Due to my limited schedule I only operated 2 meters, and ‘tried’ SSB on 40, 20, and 15 meters. You can see from my logs that some of these bands were just dead. Thankfully there was nothing wrong with my back pack radio or antenna.

Geocaches:  There are a few in the area that I used as way points. I really did not have the time to spend searching for them on this activation.

Some side notes that I rarely mention. I carry the “10 Essentials” with lots of water and snacks. In the event of a significant emergency I will use the “Ham Radio Wilderness Protocol on 146.52 FM”. I monitor that frequency when I have full batteries. On low battery I would follow the protocol. You can Google these things. I hope more Ham’s pass this information along.

Date: 13/May/2015 Summit: W7A/AW-001 Mount Lemmon Call Used: KB6CIO

Time Call Band Mode Notes
14:17z W7RV 144MHz FM 144.41 59/52 Flagstaff 110 miles
14:27z K6HPX 144MHz FM 146.52 59/55
14:30z K9LCT 144MHz FM 59/59 20 miles Fountain Hills AZ Tony
14:32z KG7IRJ 144MHz FM 59/59 Paul Broadway and Campbell
14:42z K6HPX 7MHz SSB 7.185 55/59 at home
14:44z AA7DK 7MHz SSB 44/56 Dennis Flagstaff
14:45z W7RV 7MHz SSB 44/33 Flagstaff
14:56z W4DOW 14MHz SSB 14.285 33/44 VI
14:57z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 44/33 Gary KS
14:58z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 44/33 Martha KS
14:59z N4MJ 14MHz SSB 44/33 TN
14:59z NS7P 14MHz SSB 55/56 Phil OR
15:00z KF7JQV 14MHz SSB 44/42 WA
15:01z W7CNL 14MHz SSB 55/57 Boise ID will invite KF7URE Lee to an event at his place
15:04z W4MPS 14MHz SSB 14.342 59/55 NC Marc
15:05z K4MF 14MHz SSB 59/56 FL
15:07z N7KRN 14MHz SSB 55/55 QSB
15:11z N4EX 14MHz SSB 59/34 QSB
15:14z NO8V 14MHz SSB 33/53 John MI. Good Operator!
15:15z KB1RJC 14MHz SSB 33/33
15:16z KB1RJD 14MHz SSB 33/33

=== === ===

Date: 13/May/2015 Summit: W7A/AW-003 Bigelow Mount Call Used: KB6CIO

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:40z KG7TBQ 144MHz FM 146.52 59/59
16:44z KG7IRJ 144MHz FM 22/56
16:55z W7RV 144MHz FM 144.410 55/33
16:57z K7CQX 144MHz FM 146.52 22/52
17:09z N1IDN 144MHz FM S2S W7A/PE-018 He was about to go back down. Hiked up 1hr 40min. 55/59 Mike
17:30z W6JMP 7MHz SSB 14.285 Gene near Sacramento 55/55
17:35z EI9GLB 7MHz SSB Ireland 33/33
17:36z W7CNL 14MHz SSB 55/55
17:41z AE9F 14MHz SSB 44/44 San Francisco
17:44z N4MJ 14MHz SSB 33/34
17:45z N7KRN 14MHz SSB 59/59
17:50z WA9HED 14MHz SSB 59/56 Lee WI
17:57z N5WMS 14MHz SSB 33/–
18:01z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB 33/22
18:03z WA7BEF 14MHz SSB 59/53
18:11z N4EX 21MHz SSB 21.385 59/56 NC
18:15z AE4FZ 21MHz SSB 59/56 NC
18:17z AC1Z 21MHz SSB 59/55 NH
18:19z W7TAO 21MHz SSB 55/23

PICTURES FROM Lemmon

Parking area (pay fee here if you do not have a pass)

Parking area (pay fee here if you do not have a pass)

Pay fee in parking area.

Pay fee in parking area.

Gate is about 1/2 mile from summit.

Gate is about 1/2 mile from summit.

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PICTURES FROM Bigelow

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A FRIENDLY sign at turning point. Parking is available. Not closed so I drove all the way up in a high clearance SUV. A regular car could make it to this point.

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Almost there.

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Now it is time to walk and set up.

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Activation Report Guadalupe Mountain Arizona 5/12/2015

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My Arizona SOTA adventure would not be if it were not for the VERY gracious help from the locals and others who have activated before me. They sent more summits than I could possibly do in the short time I would be here. My route was the 10 Freeway from California to Tucson. One common thread from all the advice was that I should activate very early or very late due to the intense heat at this time of the year. If I could have waited until June I could have gotten bonus points for these 😦

I am surprised that many more folks have not activated this easy one. Guadalupe Mountain W7A/PZ-060 at 774m/2539ft is a very easy drive up of about 3 miles with the last 1/3 of a mile being a moderately steep walk. You turn off the 10 Freeway at mile 26 which is Gold Nugget Road (33.678800, -114.084110). Gold Nugget road is rough old pavement until the turn at 33.674079, -114.052063 where it turns to dirt up the hill. Any car could have made it to the wide parking area at 33.670144, -114.057169. If you have a 4X4 or other vehicle with low gearing there is a paved road the last 1/3 of a mile that you can drive up. My automatic transmission was not made for this kind of task so I walked. It was about 70 when I started the walk and 82 when I returned to the car.

Service on my T-Mobile was intermittent SMS texting, no data service, and no voice service.

APRS2SOTA was probably very good at this site, however, I had an intermittent antenna connector problem that will have to be fixed back home. This radio has seen several years of tough service so this was very acceptable.

My DeLorme InReach Explorer Iridium device was used to post most SPOT’s. Additionally, there were several helpful Chasers who kept me on clearer frequencies and helped SPOT me.

Propagation was hostile to say the least. I got an email from a chaser with colorful solar data, charts and information telling me there was no hope to certain areas today. This confirmed with the reality of actual operations. I work all HF bands 40-10 in the SSB portions for at least 15 minutes. The results can be seen in my log below. My sincere thanks to all the chasers who made this worth doing!!!

Geocaches:  Guadalupe Jumpoff GC4Y4T3 http://coord.info/GC4Y4T3 is about 25ft from summit and was found easily at the end of the day. The owner did a creative hide making it worth the find. The logs here also gave me some good hints about the approach to the summit.

Some side notes that I rarely mention. I carry the 10 Essentials with lots of water and snacks. In the event of a significant emergency I will use the “Ham Radio Wilderness Protocol on 146.52 FM”. I monitor that frequency when I have full batteries. On low battery I would follow the protocol. You can Google these things. I hope more SOTA folks pass this information along.

Date: 12/May/2015 Summit: W7A/PZ-060 Guadalupe Mountain Call Used: KB6CIO

Time Call Band Mode Notes
13:56z W8BHS 144MHz FM 146.52 59/59 Larry Quartzsite
14:11z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 14.285 33/– Martha KS
14:12z N7ESI 14MHz SSB David 44/44 WA Catching up with my old friend with QSB
14:16z W0MNA 14MHz SSB Gary 55/55 KS
14:27z AA7DK 7MHz SSB 7.185 44/51
14:28z K6EL 7MHz SSB Elliot 54/58
14:30z K8TE 7MHz SSB Albuquerque area of NM 56/44
14:40z K6CMG 7MHz SSB We worked hard for this one from Long Beach, CA 22/55 5watts
14:41z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB 14.285 44/44 5w West TX
14:42z W4DOW 14MHz SSB 22/33 VI Tough for both of us and worth it!!
14:43z N7KRN 14MHz SSB 55/55 NW WA Fred
14:44z KF7JQV 14MHz SSB 55/55
14:47z WG0AT 14MHz SSB 33/–
14:48z K4MF 14MHz SSB 22/33
14:54z K7HLN 14MHz SSB 33/33 MT
14:59z W7RV 7MHz SSB 7.182 59/54
15:00z K6KNS 7MHz SSB 57/33
15:05z KG5EIU 18MHz SSB 18.160 55/–
15:07z NS7P 18MHz SSB 59/44 Phil OR
15:08z K0LAF 18MHz SSB 57/33 Helped move and re-spot me to .162
15:14z W6PZA 18MHz SSB 18.162 59/22 QSB One of my heros who made this summit happen!
15:22z AC1Z 21MHz SSB 21.385 22/55
15:23z N4MJ 21MHz SSB 44/56
15:27z AK4VU 21MHz SSB 55/55 W KY 25watts
15:31z NE4TN 21MHz SSB 44/33 TN
16:40z KC6KYO 144MHz FM Phil
3 mile route with 1037ft elevation gain.

3 mile route with 1034ft elevation gain.

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BLM sign as you start the drive.

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On the drive up a look at the 10 East

Large parking area just before the paved road that I walked up.

Large parking area just before the paved road that I walked up.

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My HF station.

The last 1/3 mile is paved, however, I walked it.

The last 1/3 mile is paved, however, I walked it. To tough for my automatic transmission.

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Dot to the center right is my car

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A spoiler for the next Geocacher - this the hide.

A spoiler for the next Geocacher – this the hide.

The geocache log book.

The geocache log book.